FILE PHOTO: MICHELLE XU/THE HOYA OUTober, celebrating LGBTQ identity, will be one of several heritage months to receive $500 or more in  funding from the Office of the President for cultural programming this year.
FILE PHOTO: MICHELLE XU/THE HOYA
OUTober, celebrating LGBTQ identity, will be one of several heritage months to receive $500 or more in funding from the Office of the President for cultural programming this year.

Cultural and advocacy groups with official months designated in their honor will receive funding and support from the Office of the President for programming during that time of the year.

Cultural groups will receive $500 in funding each year for their respective heritage months, with an additional $1,000 available for groups that demonstrate need. This money is in addition to funding that the groups already receive.

The university will fund Latino and Hispanic Heritage Month from mid-September to mid-October, Disability Culture and Awareness Month in October, LGBTQ History Month or “OUTober,” Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month in May, Native American Heritage Month in November, Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March.

In recent years, programming during these months has included has included a flash mob in Red Square for Black History Month sponsored by the Black Student Alliance, a semi-formal dinner in Copley Formal Lounge sponsored by the Latin American Alliance and the South Asian Society’s annual Rangila dance performance during Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.

Joseph Ferrara, chief of staff to the president of the university, said that this initiative is built to aid the efforts of committed students in each cultural group.

“Students work together, bringing together a variety of student groups to develop programming for these months” Ferrara said. “This is nothing new. We are simply providing support to this existing process.”

This initiative was set into motion last February when a group of student representatives of the Black House submitted a set of proposals about cultural groups to University President John J. DeGioia. A committee of students, faculty and administrators was created to address each proposal.

The student groups that would become a part of this initiative were not selected by the university, but were selected instead based on their federally recognized national heritage months.

According to Ferrara, student groups are not limited to this university funding, and can fundraise for their respective heritage months as well.

“The funds are going to support the various activities they are developing,” Ferrara said. “Students may well raise funds from other sources and we encourage that.”

One of the heritage months that the university will be recognizing is OUTober, a month dedicated to the LGBTQ community. GU Pride President Thomas Lloyd (SFS ’15) said that he recognized the significance of the Office of the President’s recognition of the LGBTQ movement, which received university recognition comparatively recently, with the 2007 opening of the LGBTQ Center.

“Having the Office of the President recognize your program is dramatic,” Lloyd said. “DeGioia will be the first president of any Catholic campus to formally recognize this many programs.”

According to Lloyd, this new funding initiative symbolizes the administration’s growing acceptance of LGBTQ students and clubs.

“Georgetown has been the model for other schools,” Lloyd said. “To have the president say ‘This is important to us’ and meeting the needs of LGBTQ students really sends a message.”

Lloyd said he is critical of the Student Activities Commission budget, and said that the monetary benefit of university recognition is essential, especially since hosting a cultural month event puts additional financial strains on a student group.

“The reality is that the SAC budget has been stretched to the limit,” Lloyd said. “For diversity groups, this is particularly troubling. The university should be demonstrating a priority for respecting the diversities of its students.”

In addition to OUTober, the Office of the President will fund and recognize [email protected] Leadership month. Nancy Hinojos (SFS ’15), the resident director of Black House and a member of the Latino Leadership Forum, said that the new funding made the group feel supported by the university and its administrators.

“It’s important to not only acknowledge that yes, this is our heritage month, but also to see how much depth there is,” Hinojos said. “We feel very supported by the Office of the President and we’re glad this is happening.”

According to Hinojos, prior to this initiative, the Latino community did not have significant institutional support for heritage events. Now, Hinojos said that it is much easier to be in contact with the president’s office.

“There have been several points of contact that have been helping us, attending our meetings and staying engaged with our leadership,” Hinojos said.

Hinojos said she has noticed that the support of the president has led to more successful events and a greater range of diversity.

This headline has been changed.

2 Comments

  1. “Nab”? REALLY? Nab? You couldn’t think of a better word?

    Do better.

  2. Agreed; The Hoya is a student publication and thus, should respect those groups who have worked tremendously on making these events possible. I didn’t realize The Hoya writers were inadequate of expanding their vocabulary to remain sensitive to other student’s identifications (whether racially, culturally, religiously, etc.). Next time, use this headline in an op-ed instead if you don’t want to be criticized.

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